The Number Seven in Scripture
The number seven in Scripture is important – it is repeated throughout the entire Bible. The first book of the New Testament Matthew makes special use of this number. The complex way this number is used makes it nearly impossible to duplicate as we shall see.
The Number Seven in Scripture
“I had another dream!” Jeffrey was nearly screaming at me over the phone. After our initial discussion in my office, he flew back to Philadelphia – first class of course. A few days went by and I had nearly forgotten Jeff and his dreams, relegating it to one of those weird experiences of life. We all experience such things growing up, like hearing sounds at night that in our imagination resemble somebody walking in the house, or when a tree branch taps on the window during a storm mimicking somebody trying to break in. I was sure Jeff, with all his drug and alcohol use, was just having a particularly big flashback or nightmare; surely nothing more than that!
But then Jeff called again; a similar dream recurred only this time was different. Rather than the angel just tell Jeff what a bad guy he was and how his sins were going to catch up with him one day, this time the angel provided much more information. ”
“The first dream could just be his subconscious mind from his religious childhood tormenting him now for being so unfaithful to his dead parents, brought on by the recent death of his mother.
The second angelic visitation was different; there was dream content, facts and figures which Jeff had not – and indeed could not – have known before, perhaps lending some credence to the dreams being real! I asked Jeff to tell me what happened and implored him to relay as much specific information as possible.
“Dave,” Jeff started slowly, cautiously, while trying to recall everything, “this dream was similar to the first. Just after I dozed off, my room was again filled with intensely brilliant light. Only this time, I was told stuff I had never heard before, I’m sure of that! First off, the angel started quoting from Scriptures; heck, I haven’t opened a Bible in decades let alone look to see a code written there.”
“What code?” I asked, really interested to hear what Jeff had learned.
“Well, let me start at the beginning. The angel told me to prepare for his first teaching; that’s what he called it – a ‘teaching.’ He told me what information he would impart to me would be remembered word for word, which of course is just the opposite of most dreams.”
“What do you mean?” Jeff seemed to be very excited but was not making sense. He seemed to be babbling on about codes, angels, lights, the Bible – it was all very confusing.
“Well, OK, what did he say to you?”
The Angel Begins
“Son of Earth,” he started, “you are now to begin your education which you should have done during your earthly existence. Now that your life on earth is coming to a close, it is important for me to impart this information quickly; what you do with this information is up to you.”
“I remember being curious in the dream, like what could be so important that I didn’t even hear about it during those long years of childhood Sunday School and listening to hundreds of sermons. The angel pointed out that my Christian education should have continued after I graduated from high school instead of ending there.”
“You know, Jeff, the angel does have a point. Most Christians don’t even read their Bible, and have no good understanding of what they believe or why. They are totally unable to defend their Christian beliefs to an unfriendly world, and many lose their faith because they fail to continue learning.”
“It is like trying to win an argument against those with a doctorate in secularism with a kindergarten education in Christianity. Because most Christians do not even know the Bible they are left defenseless against false doctrine.“
I remembered at that time my sister-in-law. We were at her house during a holiday – probably Christmas – many years ago when the subject of religion came up. She railed against religious “fanatics” who read their Bible daily, talk about Christ, and go on missions. She couldn’t understand how anybody could be so “fanatical” about their religion.
“Look,” Jeff responded, “I know I haven’t exactly kept up with theology while trying to make a living. But my religious upbringing was second to none. I went to church nearly all day Sunday, and most Wednesday evenings, and like I said, went to Sunday School, mission trips, heard sermons; like I knew more about religion than most kids. But after graduating high school, I did other stuff, more important stuff to me at the time, frankly.”
“So what else did the angel tell you this time?”
“The angel told me to listen and remember for this was these are the most important lessons I will ever hear. He certainly had my attention, especially when he got back to this thing about me dying. Not to mention his voice reverberated throughout the room; I couldn’t believe none of the neighbors were banging on the door!”
“That does seem unusual.” Jeff certainly had a point. If there really were an angel in the room with a “booming voice” – it would seem as though it might have been heard by the neighbors.
“You know what is interesting? I later asked one of my next door neighbors how he could sleep through all the racket coming from my house! He just looked at me king of weird and said he heard nothing at all unusual coming from my house.”
“Then what did the angel say?”
“Son of Earth,” the angel said, “I am to tell you why you must believe to escape your eternal fate, for after a year you will surely die.”
“Back to that again!” I said, shaking my head.
“Yea, I know, right! The angel seemed intent on linking my lack of theology education to my impending demise!”
“And you think it was the same angel as during the first night?”
“Yea, it seemed like the same one; he had the same voice quality anyway – a deep booming resonating voice that seemed to come from everywhere. Just like during the first vision, I couldn’t really see the angel through all his brightness and could see only a barely visible outline of his body shape.”
“OK, go on.”
“Son of Earth,” the angel started. “I will not argue anything with you; this is a lesson and not a debate. You will first learn about the Scriptures.”
“I remember thinking that I had heard Scripture all my life; there was nothing in there I had not heard before. But what the angel said after that blew me away.”
“Son of Earth, the Bible has many layers; there are many stories contained therein. In your so-called Western World, you are accustomed to thinking in Hellenistic or Greek terms where most stories have only a surface meaning with maybe at most one underlying or symbolic meaning.”
“However, Scriptures were written largely by and for the Jews who write in multiple layers of meaning. First, there is the plain story of the Bible with which you have some familiarity; like Moses leading Israel out of Egypt, or David slaying the giant Goliath.
But then there are deeper meanings as well, most of which we will not further discuss. However, the Scriptures also have many codes representing hidden meanings that are only now being revealed to mankind; codes written in plain sight but ignored by most until very recently.”
“A code? What kind of code!” I remember asking the angel.”
“Let me start with a question to you, Son of Earth,” the angel said, “see if you have enough rudimentary knowledge to answer. How did Christ show he was the Messiah?”
“OK, picture this, Dave. I am now in the presence of the brilliant light of an angel, being quizzed on the Bible; of course, I had not even thought about religion for decades! The pressure was on.”
“Well,” I stammered, “Christ told everybody he was.”
The angel seemed disappointed. “Of course he did; but there were many others who were making the same claim to be the Messiah. What did Christ do that was different?”
“OK, I guess that’s true.” I had to stop and think. “Well, he also performed miracles – or at least what looked like miracles to the poor, ignorant people of the first century.”
“Precisely,” said the angel with a sense of finality while not addressing my skepticism. “Christ caused people who were deaf from birth to hear, blind from birth to see, and raised multiple people from the dead; even those who were in their grave for four days. The ancient Hebrew people were every bit as skeptical as your unbelieving generation; they knew death far better than you and understood the stench of death meant the decaying of a body that never comes back to life on its own.”
“Well, maybe so. I’ve always thought of these stories as mere legends – myths that people wanted to believe to make them feel better. There are numerous myths of gods doing the miraculous – you know, like the Greek gods such as Zeus throwing down lightning bolts.”
“I care not what you think,” the angel said with some frustration at having to repeat himself. “This is not a debate but an education. What is another way Christ was revealed as the Messiah?”
“OK, I give up. How?”
A moment of silence followed as the angel tried to take in my utter ignorance.
“Through prophecy, Son of Earth. Christ was revealed as the Messiah both as prophecy fulfilled as well as prophecy he made of the future. We will get back to this topic later.”
“So, what is the point?” I was beginning to wonder where this all was leading.
“The point is, Son of Earth, just as Christ was validated as the Messiah through prophecy and the miraculous, so is Scripture revealed as the word of God through prophecy and the miraculous.”
“OK, angel, I get how Scripture is prophetic; how there are many prophecies made throughout the Bible, but there many of them which are not fulfilled – yet. But what is this miraculous thing? How is Scripture miraculous?
“Much of what is miraculous about Scripture has only been discovered within the last one-hundred years. Scripture has many levels of understanding; there is the surface meaning, and frequently many layers of deeper meaning. However, all throughout Scripture – unlike any other book on Earth – there is a code; a code that unites every book of Scripture. This miraculous code unites the Bible as a complete unit, every part amplifying and explaining the other.
“Why have I not heard of this ‘code’ before?”
“You may not recognize some of these codes because the Bible is written largely in Hebrew and Greek, but the codes are there for those who will but look!”
“But why would there be codes? The Bible is hard enough to read without having to look for secret codes!” I said to the angel.
“Scripture is unlike any other book written on Earth for these codes are found nowhere else. These codes are knitted throughout Scripture for several reasons. First, because they delight God to put puzzles in Scripture to reward those who will look? Second, these codes testify that the Scriptures could not have been written by man, but rather were dictated word for word to man from God. Several of these codes go across many books, written by multiple people over thousands of years; all the Biblical books are tied together by these codes.”
“So angel,” I said trying to gather my thoughts, “how were these codes discovered?”
“Son of Earth, many of these codes have been known for centuries, but most have only recently been found with the help of computers. Nonetheless, when found they are published on your Internet and in popular books which can be published at any bookstore. You have but to look; there is no excuse for not finding them.”
“Dave, I was awestruck; how could these things be everywhere and yet few have heard of them? The angel was quick to point out that these codes and mysteries in the Bible were not popular knowledge because no one seemed to care! I mean, why not – how could no one care? Then, the angel also told me that there were some Christian scholars who insist the codes are of no value; that God would not put such codes in Scripture. My curiosity was now piqued and I was curious to know more.”
“The angel went on to say that the third reason why these codes were placed in Scripture was to show the reliability of Scripture; that in both what we call the Old and New Testaments the loss of merely one letter would upset the code rendering it meaningless. This means that the Scripture we now have are faithful representatives of the original, that they have not been gradually changed overtime.”
“Go on,” I said.
“Finally, the angel also said that many of these codes cannot be reproduced today. Even with our modern technology, it would be impossible to place some of these many codes in Scripture let alone by barely literate fishermen two thousand years ago. The angel also pointed out that it is possible to use the power of statistics to show how it would be statistically impossible to include these many hidden meanings in Scripture only by chance.”
“Well,” I countered, “I think I would have to see these ‘codes’ to judge for myself.”
“You will, Son of Earth, for that is one of my missions to you over the next few months until you die. I am to illustrate and explain some of these hidden meanings. Son of Earth, many of these codes are difficult to understand, but some are easy. We will start tonight with a simple illustration that is easy to understand and which will demonstrate the power of what is hidden in clear view.”
Jeff took a while to get himself ready, obviously trying to remember every detail of what had been told to him last night in a dream.
“Do you know what a ‘heptadic structure’ is, Son of Earth?”
“No, I sure don’t. ‘What the heck is a ‘heptadic structure?’”
“Heptadic means the recurrence of seven – or multiples of seven. When sevens are mentioned in Scripture it generally means ‘completion.’ The repetition of the seven structure is obvious even to the casual reader. There are too many examples of this heptadic structure to mention them all, but some examples are.
- the seven feasts of Israel,
- the seven days of rain after Noah entered the ark,
- seven days between the doves,
- Jacob serves seven years for each of his two wives,
- seven ears of corn in Pharaoh’s dream
- (with seven good years and seven famine years),
- seven lamps in the Menorah,
- seven elements of furniture in the Tabernacle,
- seven days of the Feast of Unleavened bread,
- seven weeks to the Feast of Weeks,
- seven months between the Jewish months of Nisan and Tishri,
- seven years of the sabbatical years,
- and seven times seven years to the Jubilee Year,
- seven priests with seven trumpets
- circling Jericho seven times in the Book of Joshua,
- seven nations of Canaan,
- Solomon took seven years to build the first Temple,
- Naaman washed seven times in the river,
- seven loaves fed to the four thousand,
among many, many others.”
“You know Dave,” Jeff said while looking to the floor, “it is amazing but I can remember exactly everything the angel said to me! Usually, I don’t have that great of a memory with these dreams …” His voice tailed off as Jeff seemed to be visualizing his dream, reliving the night before.
Jeff took a few minutes to gather his thoughts, and slowly continued.
“’Do you know any Greek?’ the angel said somewhat impatiently I thought.”
“’No, it’s all Greek to me!’ I said back to the angel hoping for a little comic relief. Of course, the angel was not amused and seemed disappointed.”
“It is so disheartening to see such ignorance in those who consider themselves intelligent. Of course, you know Matthew in Scripture was originally written in Greek. Most educated people in ancient Israel spoke several languages, especially Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek, and Latin. The genealogy of Christ from Abraham through Joseph is detailed in the first few verses of that book. Many, such as you apparently, believe this book was penned in Greek either by Matthew or some other person rather than inspired, is that not correct?”
“I felt at that point rather like a witness in course being grilled by an attorney. But I knew the angel could see right into my soul and knew exactly what I thought before I even answered with ‘Yes, I guess so.’ Of course, I had no idea where the genealogy of Christ was listed in the Bible but I thought it best not to appear too ignorant.”
“Foolish Son of Earth, I give you work to do. You are to write a fictitious genealogy just like the one in Matthew except in English with the following rules:
First, the number of words must be divisible by seven exactly,
The number of letters must also be divisible by seven,
The number of vowels and the number of consonants much be divisible by seven,
The number of words that begin with a vowel must be divisible by seven,
The number of words that begin with a consonant must be divisible by seven,
The number of words that occur more than once must be divisible by seven,
The number of words that occur in more than one form must be divisible by seven,
The number of words that occur in only one form must be divisible by seven
The number of words that occur of nouns shall be divisible by seven
Only seven words shall not be nouns
The number of names in the genealogy shall be divisible by seven
All the names had to be Biblical names
Only seven other kinds of nouns are permitted
The number of male names shall be divisible by seven
The number of generations shall be 21, also divisible by seven
Son of Earth, you can attempt to do this in either English or Greek, by our next visit.”
“The angel then disappeared, and the light gradually dimmed in my room. I then woke up and immediately wrote down the things the angel had told me. It is amazing, though, that I still remember the exact details without referring to my notes.”
“Needless to say, I was amazed. Of course, the English translation of the Greek does not have this structure; it is only in the original Greek. I also had to contend with the fact that this was written in the first century, when there were no computers and writing implements and papyrus were expensive luxuries.”
“I then decided to do some research, Dave. I have always believed that there have been almost countless revisions and rewrites. For example, in Dan Brown’s popular novel, The Da Vinci Code, Sir Leigh Teabing – a fictional historian in the novel – reveal the ‘true nature’ of the Bible this way,”
Reaching into his briefcase, Jeff brought out a copy of The DaVinci Code and quickly turned to a page he had folded down,
The Bible is a product of man . . . . Not of God. The Bible did not fall magically from the clouds. Man created it as a historical record of tumultuous times, and it has evolved through countless translations, additions, and revisions. History has never had a definitive version of the book.”
“You know Dave, what I found out was that the Bible has been translated into more languages than any other book on earth; yet, there are many hundreds of languages still to go. You would think it would be easy, just like putting the Bible into a Google translator of sorts! But many of these languages may not even have a written form! Also, there are so few natives who speak both that particular rare language as well as one that has a Bible translation already.”
“Yeah, well so …”
I was a little mystified as to where his conversation was leading.
“Well, Dave, like I said, I’m just getting started in this whole Bible thing. And most of my time has been spent trying to write a little genealogy like the angel said – but in the English language instead of course since I don’t speak any Greek!”
“Well, how are you doing?” I wondered how serious Jeff really was. Certainly, it would seem difficult at best to satisfy all those criteria all at once using some rather weird names like ‘Boaz’ and Amiminadah.’
“Well Dave, to tell you the true I haven’t gotten too far yet. After a few hours – yes hours – I finally gave up. I know I could spend a lot more time on this but what’s the use. The angel made his point. Still, if that’s all there is to the ‘code’ then I’m not too terribly impressed.’
“I think there is probably going to be more. I mean, you have only had a few visits from this angel and your ‘demise’ is still a year away.”
“Yeah, I know.” Jeff signed, looking down at the ground. “I suppose another reason why I am so skeptical is that if I believe this whole thing about an angel giving me lessons, well, then it means I might actually be set up to die in a year. Somehow I hoped I would have a lot more time.”
“Well, maybe you can bargain with the angel, kind of like Hezekiah did with God about his life span.”
“I have no idea who this Hezekiah was, but I’m pretty sure that won’t work. The angel usually put the adverb ‘surely’ before die. It kind of sounds like my fate is sealed.”
“It won’t hurt to ask, and then ask again.”
“OK, I’ll do it just for you!” Jeff finally smiled as he looked up from the ground.
“Alright. Well, listen, I’ve got to go to another appointment, Jeff. I’ll talk you later. Let me know if you have any more of those angelic visits!”
I would not have long to wait.
 Dan Brown, The DaVinci Code, p. 231
 2 Kings 20:1-11